19 July 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the successful culmination of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. On that date in 1979, Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) guerrillas declared victory after ousting the US-backed Somoza dictatorship and embarked on a path of social reform and national independence. Washington, however, never accepted this disobedience in its ‘backyard’ and soon began waging a proxy war via its CIA-backed right-wing ‘Contra’ terrorist force.
On 14 July, US President Donald Trump sent out a series of menacing tweets directed at the freshman cohort of progressive House Democrats: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilham Omar and Ayanna Pressley. Utilizing his characteristic right-wing bully tactics, he accused them of hating the US and Israel and implored them to “go home,” in spite of the fact that all four of them are US citizens. The tweets have been met with strong backlash in the media and even from erstwhile allies on the international stage including UK prime minister Theresa May. The fact that Trump is a bigot hardly constitutes news, but when shone through the prism of things we already know about him the tweets provide the most decisive proof yet that Trump is at heart a dyed-in-the-wool white supremacist.
Take, for instance, Trump’s own personal background. After all, he can hardly trace his entire lineage back to the landing of the Mayflower. His mother was neither born nor grew up in the States – unlike three of the four progressive congress members he attacked. She immigrated to the US from Scotland as a young adult in the 1930s and gained US citizenship in 1942 – presumably in large part because she married a US citizen, Fred Trump. But Trump’s father hardly could have traced his ancestry back to the Mayflower either. Both of Fred Trump’s parents were immigrants from the Kingdom of Bavaria, which is in modern-day Germany. So, Donald Trump himself is only first-generation US-born on his mother’s side and second-generation on his father’s.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has introduced a bill that would protect the right to boycott Israel, apparently related to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. We look at why the legislation is bound to be dead on arrival.
Omar (D-Minnesota) formally submitted the resolution to the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Though the bill’s text does not explicitly mention BDS, it unmistakably endorses the movement that seeks to launch an international pressure campaign to incentivize Israel to withdraw from occupied territories and negotiate a peace settlement with the Palestinian leadership
On 14 July, Donald Trump sent out a series of menacing tweets telling progressive Democratic congress members to “go back” to their home countries. His targets – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley – are all US citizens. Only Omar was not born in the US.
The tweets added yet another thread to the rich tapestry of Trump’s fascist credentials. And he has not only refused to retract or apologize for them, but has been adding further fuel to the flames. At his latest rally, for example, he defiantly doubled down, issuing a further set of attacks and insults toward the four congress members – and Omar in particular. But it was the reaction of the crowd that was perhaps most worrying.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has defiantly refused to cooperate with a UN human rights tribunal, saying that if he is ever to be put on trial over his ‘War on Drugs’, it would have to be in the Philippines.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution last Thursday to investigate alleged human rights abuses by Duterte’s government as part of Manila’s ‘War on Drugs.’ The measure was introduced to the 48-member international body by Iceland, prompting Duterte to consider severing ties with the Nordic nation.
After defeating a right-wing challenger in 2017 to succeed supposed ally Rafael Correa, Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno lurched strongly to the right once in office. This year, for example, he has handed Ecuadorian citizen Julian Assange to British authorities and supportedWashington’s coup attempt in Venezuela.
Domestically, meanwhile, he oversaw a shocking economic reversal in March. Where his predecessor had opposed submission to Washington’s neoliberal international institutions, Moreno entered into an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – an organization notorious for its coercive imposition of austerity measures in exchange for loans across the globe. Now, a leading research institute in Washington has exposed the likely brutal realities of this deal.
The word fascism is undoubtedly overused in today’s political lexicon. It is used by figures from across the political spectrum as a shorthand for anything that one’s opponent does that is deemed sinister or disagreeable. This phenomenon has obscured the real meaning of the word, creating confusion and misunderstanding within the general public. One of the unfortunate corollaries of this has been a tendency to dismiss comparisons between today’s right-wing populists and early 20th Century fascism as facile and overblown. But this should not stand in the way of drawing parallels that ought to be drawn – those that do not fall into the category of this kind of lazy thinking. Historical comparisons should be evaluated on their own merits and not on whether the terminology surrounding them has been debased through overuse.
In the case of Donald Trump in the United States and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, the appropriateness of the word is now becoming self-evident through the emergence of one of fascism’s major distinguishing characteristics: the trampling over the judicial branch of the state.